Tino Chrupalla, co-leader of the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party, speaks to supporters at the official AfD election campaign launch ahead of European parliamentary elections on April 27, 2024 in Donaueschingen, Germany. (Photo by Arnd Wiegmann/Getty Images)

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German AfD party senior Petr Bystron’s premises searched in alleged bribery investigation


The premises of one of the German Alternative for Germany (AfD) party’s top candidates in the June European Parliament elections, Petr Bystron, have been searched by German and Spanish authorities.

Prosecutors said properties in Berlin, Bavaria and on the Spanish island of Mallorca were searched on May 16 and documents and other evidence seized. Bystron is under suspicion of receiving bribes from Russia, according to German media outlet Der Spiegel.

He did not immediately comment on the searches. He has previously denied allegations that he was paid to give interviews to a pro-Russian news portal.

“Munich prosecutors are investigating a Bundestag member on suspicion of receiving bribes and money laundering,” the prosecutors’ office in Munich said.

“As part of this investigation, premises in Berlin and Bavaria and on Majorca were searched and evidence was seized,” it said.

According to the German Parliament, Bystron’s immunity as a lawmaker had been lifted just before the searches took place.

Czech media reported that Czech security services have a recording in which Bystron can allegedly be heard counting banknotes and complaining that their denominations are so large that spending them even at a petrol station would be difficult.

Bystron has said the allegations are part of an organised political campaign against him.

The allegations, widely reported in Czech and German media, have been a blow to the AfD, which is under scrutiny itself over allegations that it harbours spies and agents for Russia and China.

“So far no proof has been presented for the allegations raised against Mr Bystron weeks ago,” AfD leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla said in a joint statement on May 16.

“The AfD hopes the investigation will be concluded swiftly to avoid creating the suspicion that this is an attempt to use authorities and prosecutors to influence the European election campaign,” they said.

The AfD had seemed to be vying with the Conservative opposition to top opinion polls at the start of 2024 but now polls show its support has dropped since the foreign-influence allegations and amid large protests against the party.

Prosecutors recently charged an assistant to Maximilian Krah, the party’s lead candidate for June’s European Parliament elections, over alleged spying for China.